Posts for tag: TMJ
As many as 36 million adults in the U.S. suffer from some form of chronic jaw pain. What’s more, many of these may also experience other painful conditions like arthritis or chronic fatigue in other parts of their body.
Chronic jaw pain is actually a group of difficult to define disorders collectively referred to as temporomandibular joint disorders (TMJD or also TMD). TMD not only refers to pain symptoms of the temporomandibular (jaw) joints but also of the jaw muscles and surrounding connective tissue. Most physicians and dentists agree TMD arises from a complex range of conditions involving inheritable factors, gender (many sufferers are women of childbearing age), environment and behavior.
A recent survey of approximately 1,500 TMD patients found that nearly two-thirds of them also suffered from three or more related health problems like fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome, rheumatoid arthritis, headaches, depression and problems sleeping. The understanding of TMD’s connection with these other conditions is in its early stages of research, but there’s avid interest among healthcare providers to learn more and possibly devise new treatments for TMD in coordination with these other related conditions.
In the meantime, TMD patients continue to respond best with the traditional approach to treatment, including physical therapy, thermal (hot or cold) compresses to the area of pain, medication and modifying the diet with more easier to chew foods. In extreme cases, jaw surgery may be recommended; however, success with this approach has been mixed, so it’s advisable to get a second opinion before choosing to undergo a surgical procedure.
Hopefully, further study about TMD and its connection with other conditions may yield newer treatments to ease the pain and discomfort of all these conditions, including TMD. You can stay up to date on these and other developments for coping with the discomfort of TMD at www.tmj.org and through your healthcare provider team.
If you would like more information on TMD, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more about this topic by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “Chronic Jaw Pain and Associated Conditions.”
After ruling out other causes for your jaw pain, your doctor or dentist has made a diagnosis: a temporomandibular joint disorder (TMD). With TMD, your pain symptoms and other dysfunctions are due to a problem associated with the temporomandibular joint (TMJ) that connects your lower jaw (mandible) to your upper skull (cranium).
There are a number of treatment options, but most can be classified as either aggressive or conservative. Aggressive treatments are more interventional and target problems with the teeth such as bite problems or jaw relationships as they relate to the bite, which are thought to be underlying causes for TMD. Such treatments include orthodontics to realign teeth, crown or bridgework, or surgical treatment to the jaw or joint itself. These treatments are controversial and irreversible — with no guarantee of symptom relief.
It’s thought by many to be appropriate, then, to start with more conservative treatments. Many of these are based on treating the TMJ — which is a joint, a moveable bony structure connected by muscles and tendons — with an orthopedic approach, using treatments similar to those used for other joint problems.
Here, then, are some of those conservative therapies that may relieve your TMD pain and other symptoms.
Physical Therapy. Commonly used to treat pain and dysfunction in other joints, physical therapies like manual manipulation, massage, alternating hot and cold packs or exercises can be used to relax, stretch or retrain the muscles that operate the TMJ while reducing pain and inflammation.
Medications. Medications may be incorporated into the treatment plan to relieve pain, reduce inflammation or relax tense muscles. Besides prescription drugs, over-the-counter anti-inflammatory drugs (such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen) are also commonly used.
Bite Appliances. If night-time teeth grinding or clenching habits are a primary cause for the TMD, you may benefit from wearing an occlusal bite guard while you sleep, designed to specifically fit your upper teeth. Because the lower teeth can’t grip the guard’s smooth plastic surface when biting down, they’ll more likely produce less force. This gives the jaw muscles a chance to relax during sleep.
Diet changes. Changing to softer foods, which don’t require strenuous chewing, and eliminating the chewing gum habit will further help reduce stress on the TMJs and also give your muscles a chance to relax and heal.
If you would like more information on TMD and treatment options, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more about this topic by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “Seeking Relief from TMD.”
When most people think of going to the dentist, they assume that the only services offered are related to the teeth or gums. But dentists also diagnose and treat another common oral issue called Temporomandibular joint disorder or TMJ or TMD. Find out more about TMJ dysfunction, how it happens and how it can be repaired by Jenkintown dental implants Dr. Cary L. Limberakis, DMD.
What Is TMJ Dysfunction?
Temporomandibular joint disorder is a condition in the joints and muscles of the jawbone. The TMJ joint connects the jawbone to the rest of the skull and permits the necessary movements to open and close your mouth. TMJ disorder makes it painful and difficult to eat, talk or even open your mouth to yawn normally. Besides pain in the sides of the face where the joint is located, another sign of TMJ disorder is a clicking or popping sound when you open and close your mouth.
How Does It Happen?
Doctors aren’t 100 percent certain what causes TMJ dysfunction, but there are a few ways that it can develop:
- A habit of clenching your teeth when sleeping or when closing your mouth
- An injury to the face
- Whiplash from a car accident
- Arthritis symptoms
- Making funny faces or stressing the muscles of your face too much
Tell Jenkintown dental implants Dr. Limberakis if you have any of these habits or conditions. Sometimes developing TMJ dysfunction is a gradual process and in some cases there’s a "sudden" onset of this annoying condition.
The purpose of TMJ treatment is to ease the discomfort of jaw pain and ensure the optimal function of your jawbone. Your dentist will likely prescribe a mouthpiece to wear at night or during sports activity to prevent further agitation of the Temporomandibular joint. NSAID medications can help eliminate painful swelling in the area. And in some cases restorative work to the smile can help ease the symptoms over time.
Get On the Road to Relief from Jaw Pain
If you're experiencing the symptoms of TMJ dysfunction, contact Jenkintown dental implants Dr. Cary L. Limberakis, DMD today to have your jaw examined. You may be surprised at the straightforward solutions now available to patients with this problem. His office accepts appointment requests online at http://www.limberakisdental.com or over the phone (215-886-8866).